Military Harasses Journalists At Bradley Manning Trial

from the freedom-of-the-press dept

The US government hasn’t been happy at all that there is any press coverage of the Bradley Manning trial, and seems to bend over backwards to make their lives more difficult. However, it appears that they took things to an entirely new and ridiculous level this week in actively spying on and harassing journalists covering the trial.

@carwinb, @kgosztola, @nathanLfuller, and @wikileakstruck have tweeted about armed guards standing directly behind them as they type into laptops in the designated press area, being “screamed at” for having “windows” open on their computers that show Twitter in a browser tab, and having to undergo extensive, repeated, invasive physical searches.

Even the NY Times has noted how extreme it was:

Two military police officers in camouflage fatigues and armed with holstered handguns paced behind each row there, looking over the journalists’ shoulders, which had not happened during the trial. No explanation was given.

Reading through the various tweets, the MPs were specifically trying to stop journalists from using Twitter. Kevin Gosztola was directly told not to use Twitter and was later admonished for having “a window” open on his computer. No joke. The reporters also noted that they had to go through an incredibly detailed TSA-style search before they could enter the courtroom — and that this had not happened previously in their coverage of the trial. Multiple journalists noted how “creepy” it was and how intimidating it is to have military police with guns looking over your shoulder and watching everything you do. Freedom of the press? Not at all.

In response to all of this attention, the judge apparently claims that she ordered the “extra security” because of “repeated rule violations” of rules that no one was told about. But, reading through the details, it sounds a hell of a lot more like intimidation of the press than than about any attempt to stop “rules violations.”

Filed Under: , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Military Harasses Journalists At Bradley Manning Trial”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
DCX2 says:

Re: So...

Of course Mr. Manning has a chance.

I mean, look at the case of one Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins III. He and his squad were convicted of kidnapping an innocent, retired police officer in Iraq, in the middle of the night, dragging him from his home, throwing him in a ditch, tying his hands, shooting him, and then planting an AK to make it look like he was an insurgent planting a bomb. He and his squad are cold-blooded murderers – and convicted at that.

And yet the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces found that, because he was held in solitary confinement in Iraq without access to a lawyer for seven days, they overturned his murder conviction. A mere 7 days in solitary and his entire murder conviction is overturned? Mr. Manning practically spent years in solitary confinement. Certainly the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces will treat Mr. Manning’s rights with the same respect.



Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Easy fix for journalists

Why do that when they could just setup a silent macro with AutoHotkey to record when triggered then another to tweet it.

Every single thing I’ve made with AHK has no UI at all and is completely invisible. There is also a script you can use to hide processes.

Now I’m off to make this just to see if I can.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You seem to be assuming that wasn’t the intent all along.

Step 1: Rile up journalists/press by treating them as though they were the ones being tried.
Step 2: Journalists naturally get quite vocal and upset about the treatment they’ve received.
Step 3: Judge orders that since journalists are ‘providing distractions and disorder in the court’ they are prohibited from being in the courtroom until they ‘calm down’ (read: after the court case is already over).

It’s to the journalists’ credit that they were able to stay calm enough that the judge never got a good enough excuse to move on to step 3, but you can bet the same strategy will be brought into play the next time someone the US wants to bury hits the bench.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Did they not realize that the reporters would report on this treatment?

What treatment ??? MP’s had guns !!!!, MP’s walked behind people !!!! Journalists being asked not to do things they are not allowed to do !!!!

what treatment ??????

MP’s look at people !!!!!
MP’s had guns !!!
MP’s walked !!!!
MP’s looked big and scary !!!!
MP’s function as Military Police, enforce RULES !!!!!

Anonymous Coward says:

so what, it’s a military court martial..
fucking press is lucky they are even allowed anywhere near there.
I went thru one when I served, I was guilty as hell but the CO wanted one anyway to hear my side of the story..
I got off easy; 12 months in the brig, reduction in rank and forfeiture of pay for the 12 months I did in a Marine Corp brig. I still got my honorable discharge. Colonel said I was justified for punching that punk ass 2nd lieutenant, but I shouldn’t have and gone through proper “chain of command”. fat good that would have done, thats why I punched the punk.

Anonymous Coward says:

and this is a good example of a judge being ‘unbiased’, i dont think! she had already had her decision made for her. that is why she didn’t dismiss the charge of ‘aiding the enemy’ although who is the enemy, no one can answer. like Snowden, Manning has done the people a massive service and is going to pay for that with the loss of his life, in one form or another. i cannot see how anyone in good conscience can rule against either of these men. they are more of a man than those that are wanting them locked up for life or worse will ever be. all those people do is use the positions they have been given to hold to abuse the power!

Anonymous Coward says:

This military trial is a kangaroo court. It’s the same set up they’re using for Guantanamo to prevent the public from knowing all that is going on.

I would guess things aren’t quite going the way the court thinks it should with public responses to these news reporters and that is the reason for the heavy leaning on them.

Bradly Manning honored his oath to defend the nation against all enemies foreign and domestic by spilling the beans on those working against the Constitution. This is his reward for being a whistle blower.

A fair court would long ago have thrown the case out just on the treatment Manning has received during the wait for trial. His time behind bars is anything but a speedy trial, judge ruling or not. His treatment alone has brought calls about of mistreatment of a prisoner. Yet the show goes on telling you it is going to be anything but fair.

Anonymous Coward says:

And the Press NEVER intimidate people


No, you never see a large crown of press chasing someone down the street, or waiting outside their room, or watching them through giant camera lenses. Or all mobbing a person, and all asking questions at the same time.

No they never make false accusations to someone, or ask leading questions.

Or the press hacking into peoples computers, emails, texts, phones !!!!

None of that EVER happens right, press and Angles.. can’t tell the difference.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: And the Press NEVER intimidate people

Because the government is so much better, nothing should oppose grorious US government and their attempt to stifle freedom of press.

Oh wait, the “It’s okay to abuse them because they’re assholes” game is for children and retards. I can already tell which one you are by your posts. (sup Darryl)

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...